Tiffany Gee Lewis: The sticks and stones of gossip

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  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 25, 2012 4:37 p.m.

    Gossip can cause more pain than most people realize. After my divorce I returned to the singles ward in the small town where I grew up. My ex wife also returned there. We were ok with that, but I guess some people were not. They see something that doesn't seem right and they want to know why. To make it short, one day somebody took me off to the side. They needed to tell me what was being said. I was shocked. It included my having had an affair, among other things! They even expressed sorrow for my ex wife in sacrament meeting one sunday when I wasn't there! None of it was true! None of it! It has been 25 years, and I still feel some pain. I left that place and I never went back. How do you confront that. I was young. I am sure that some people still think I did it. They thought it was true. Since then I try not to spread things. If someone shares personal information, keep it to yourself unless told otherwise. I lost all my friends that day. I just couldn't go back

  • 1hemlock Tooele, Utah
    Oct. 25, 2012 12:18 p.m.

    In confidential meetings it is hard to determine at times what is gossip or just discussion of a situation. A good rule of thumb is: If a situation is discussed, is there then a solution (a course of action)that is discussed and an assignment made to carry that course of action? If there is no course of action suggested . . it is gossip and should stop. Elder Oaks used to suggest that the person that "noticed" the problem was inspired to learn of the situation so they should help, or be encouraged to be the resolution of the situation.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 25, 2012 9:56 a.m.

    There is a method in the Church for dealing with gossip, although I am not sure how it works or if it has been abandoned:

    The Doctrine and Covenants says that the teachers are see that there is no hardness and evil speaking between members. If that is the prerogative of teachers it must fall into the duties of priests, elders and high priests too.

    Gossip is often a cheap way of feeling you are making progress: you put, or think you do, as many of your peers in an inferior status to yourself by spreading rumors about them, just evil surmisings sometimes, or uncharitable evaluations or emphases. I think that is the appeal for many of us.

    Far better, though, to make progress by progressing than by disparaging. Gossip feeds the ego; the other person, gender, nationality, etc is, or is doing worse, than "we" are (in our imagination at least) and the result is we get worse not better ourselves.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 25, 2012 7:35 a.m.

    Very appropriate considering the toxic nature of todays political climate.

  • Montana Mormon Miles City, MT
    Oct. 24, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    I love this piece of wisdom:

    "The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh: but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones. Many have fallen by the edge of the sword: but not so many as have fallen by the tongue." (Ecclesiasticus 28:17-18)

  • scootd28* SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 24, 2012 1:25 p.m.

    If there's no constructive purpose, then don't say it.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2012 12:09 p.m.

    Well written. Thank you.

    Gossip is emotional violence. It is rough noise - a cacophonous music of the basest sort.

    But it was not always so. In the beginning it was associated with God parents and the caring things they might offer in their office. It literally rises from the root of two words: God and sib - (from which we have the word sibling). In very early use, the connotation associated with gossip was not bad. Early associations include the chatter of women gathering to help another give birth. We should be clear that the vile process that is gossip in our day and age rose from caring that went emotionally haywire.

    And even today, the root of gossip is often not meant to be malevolent. But it can easily turn that direction. The key, however, is found in the words we do or do not speak. It is in our hearts. As the scriptures suggest, we speak from the "abundance of the heart." (see Luke 6:45, Matthew 12:34)

    But heart enough is not enough. We must be wise about how our sometimes innocent words can be abused. In any modern context, gossip has betrayal at its heart.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Oct. 24, 2012 7:14 a.m.

    Per Ben Franklin, Even if it's true, it's still gossip.